Helen Merfield, HCML and Rehab Direct
Merfield began by saying that case management can bring "harmony" to placate the needs of the injured party, solicitor and insurer. It is about trust.
She said: "The ABI and IUA working party has just undertaken a study, which looked at how we have improved in the past two years. The biggest issue is still trust. There is much more trust now than there was, but unless both parties learn to trust each other, it is going to make it very difficult. We do not want adversarial rehab."
She said the Pathways initiative was often seen as a way for the "government to get people back off incapacity benefit and into work so that they can save money".
She added: "However, most people who have been with the Pathways programme really want to get back into work - they volunteer for these programmes. The same type of rehab programmes utilised in the insurance industry are being utilised in the Pathways programme, using the biopsychosocial model."
Merfield said that the ABI and IUA working party will publish its findings soon on the rehab market but it would also "re-look at the code of best practice for rehabilitation".
She said: "The DCA has set up a rehabilitation action group to look at the issues and try to come up with some solutions."
Better education would allow early "yellow flag systems" to be introduced, which can
predict when people are going to suffer from disproportionate outcomes early on in a case. Around 40%-80% of increased costs in the US system is due to disproportionate outcomes. "If you do not catch them early, this is when the cases such as for minor whiplash injuries end up with people not working for the rest of their lives or ending up not working for 10 to 15 years."